Re: Thai v. Lao (was: Lao Letter Fo Sung and Lao Letter Fo Tam)

From: Richard Wordingham (
Date: Fri Oct 21 2005 - 02:11:26 CST

  • Next message: Richard Wordingham: "Re: Thai v. Lao"

    Philippe Verdy wrote:

    > it is now very reasonnable to keep them encoded separately, as these
    > scripts have their own separate history of use, and their own semantics.

    How should one go about disunifying the English from the French and German
    scripts? Their writing systems have comparable or longer separate

    > It's still true that one could adopt a common glyph style to represent the
    > two scriipts, but the result would be necessarily hard to read from both
    > Thai and Lao perspectives.

    I'm not convinced Lao would be out of place in a Thai shop sign. It seems
    Thai adjust to unfamilar styles by picking out familiar words, and that is a
    problem with a different language / rather different dialect.

    > And I'm quite sure that trying to unify them now would create lots of
    > cases of ambiguity.

    I agree that some of the Lao reference glyphs have moved into the territory
    of letters dropped from the Lao language, and the standard Thai confusion
    problem of cho chan, ngo ngu, o ang and wo waen might be expanded.

    > (I won't say this will not occur, after all, Thai and Lao communities may
    > be inventive and try to adopt a new common readable style, but this won't
    > change the fact that each of them will keep their own rules for using the
    > letters for their respective languages)

    Cf. French 'j' v. English 'j' v. German 'j'? Or the ways of marking length
    in French (obsolescent), English and German?

    > Anyway,a text encoded with Thai adopts today a visual encoding (a legacy
    > inheritance from the TIS standard), instead of the logical encoding used
    > for other scripts. Trying to unify them would cause lots of problem with
    > existing Thai text (Thai has a better and more ancient litteracy level).

    Lao is also encoded in accordance with the natural way of writing, i.e. left
    to right and outwards down and up - no truck with 'logical order', even
    though it would have been possible for the modern Lao language (unlike


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